Update on Community Geodetic Facility Support post-2023

Donna Charlevoix donnac at unavco.org
Wed Oct 9 16:09:42 UTC 2019

Dear UNAVCO Community:

As many of you know, UNAVCO has worked closely with IRIS for many years
despite the different areas of focus of our consortia and the facilities we
operate. We believe these joint efforts have been quite successful in
supporting our vibrant scientific communities and they have continued under
our new GAGE and SAGE awards from NSF. The National Science Foundation
(NSF) will announce this week at the SAGE-GAGE Workshop that they wish to
take this cooperation one step further and will require that the SAGE and
GAGE facilities be managed as a single, integrated facility with one
operator after our current awards end in September 2023.

Continued support of our communities remains a priority. We believe there
may be potential scientific and operational benefits of an integrated
facility and even closer coordination between our research communities in
the future. We have therefore begun to explore options to ensure the
sustainability of our community-governed facilities and our consortia while
meeting NSF’s requirements for management of these facilities going forward.
This exploration includes conversations with IRIS about our long-term
relationship and what a more formal collaboration in the future, including
a potential merger, might look like to better support our respective
research communities.  We have great respect for IRIS — its staff, its
community of scientists, and its work — and we will continue to work
together with them no matter where this process leads us.

The UNAVCO and IRIS Boards will be leading this assessment process with
guidance from La Piana Consulting, a neutral third-party with extensive
nonprofit experience. They are evaluating our organizations’ readiness to
increase our level of collaboration. Our focus to date has been on
understanding the range of options available for strategic partnerships,
including the benefits and risks associated with each option. Immediately
following the SAGE-GAGE workshop, our Boards will meet together to review
the information La Piana has gathered.  No decisions have been made at this
point and we have no set timeframe for making them, but we will do our best
to share information with you about these deliberations as it becomes

There will also be a discussion on Friday morning of the SAGE-GAGE Workshop
on future management models for geodetic and seismic facilities and an
opportunity for community members to ask questions of both NSF, and UNAVCO
and IRIS leadership, about these potential changes. Members of both Boards
will also be available during the workshop to talk with you about any
questions or comments you might have.

We thank you for your patience as we carefully consider how best to advance
our mission in the years ahead. If you have questions or comments, please
contact Lucy Flesch Chair of the UNAVCO Board of Directors (
lmflesch at purdue.edu) or Chuck Meertens, Acting President of UNAVCO (
meertens at unavco.org).
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